ASU's defense led the way in 13-7 win over Washington

The Sun Devil defense stepped up in 13-7 win against the Huskies

ASU held the No. 5 team in the nation to a measly seven points on Saturday night. Many had reason to believe that the Sun Devils (3-3, 2-1, Pac-12) would not be able to fend off the 2016 Pac-12 champions — especially considering ASU had given up at least 30 points in its previous five games this season.

Considering that the Washington Huskies (6-1, 3-1 Pac-12) looked like the Pac-12 favorites after a 6-0 start, it would not make sense for the Sun Devils to pull off the upset.

But, college football doesn't always make sense.

In a weekend where four teams in the top ten fell, ASU added to the chaos by holding down Washington in a 13-7 defensive victory.

"It was a team effort," head coach Todd Graham said. "We held them to 230 yards, I don't think many people thought we could do that." 

Holding a team to 230 total yards is impressive no matter the opponent, but to do that against a talented, well-coached Washington squad is rare.

The Huskies could never get in an offensive rhythm against the Sun Devils. Washington was unable to get their running game going — averaging 2.9 yards per carry — and it could not muster a consistent passing attack.

Husky junior quarterback Jake Browning was under fire all night from the ASU defensive line, getting sacked five times. 

"He was shook," senior linebacker J'Marcus Rhodes said.

Previously, opposing quarterbacks did not get "shook" against the Sun Devils, but Browning was always under pressure. 

ASU got crucial sacks when it needed them, even getting some stops from unheralded players. 

Redshirt junior defensive lineman Renell Wren was in the Huskies backfield so much — he should have paid them rent. The defensive lineman ended the night with three tackles with two behind the line of scrimmage.

"It was fun, Renell did really good today. I think he showed up big time for us and earned a role," junior defensive lineman JoJo Wicker said. 

Redshirt sophomore defensive lineman George Lea had a sack of his own. Neither Wren nor Lea had contributed much in the team's earlier games, but both made their presence known against UW.

"Pretty much everyone on the D- (defensive) line had a sack except me," Wicker said.

Add in some solid cornerback play from redshirt freshman defensive back Chase Lucas and sophomore defensive back Kobe Williams, and one can better grasp the improbable result.

On paper the offense was subpar, scoring just 13 points and only accumulating 285 total yards, but the unit did just enough to seal the win.

"The reason why I keep saying it's a team effort is that we played 20 (defensive) snaps in the first half," Graham said. "The reason why we played 20 snaps in the first half is because we kept the ball on offense and we ran 42 plays on offense."

The Sun Devils won the time of possession battle 34:55 to 25:05, which kept the Huskies off the field and in turn allowed the Sun Devil defense to be more rested when it came onto the field.

And in fairness, the offense made the play of the game. 

ASU got a few defensive breaks as well, with Washington missing two short field goals and committing an untimely holding call on a touchdown run, but in the end the Sun Devils pulled off an inconceivable victory over a top-five team, the first time they have done so since 1996 against Nebraska.

"It felt fake, it seemed unreal," Rhodes said. 

The fans certainly thought so. See the crowd reaction for yourself: 

Reach the reporter at or follow @Harris_Mark7 on Twitter.

Like State Press Sports on Facebook and follow @statepressport on Twitter.

Get the best of State Press delivered straight to your inbox.